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Published: October 4th 2010
NAMCHEE TO LUKLA
9/6/10: Another amazing sleep, I love oxygen. Azeret decided to follow us to Lukla and it was agreed we would get an early start. We were walking by 6:00am trekking back down steeps and paths we had walked up 15 days before. From Namchee to Monjo was 2 hours and by the time we descended into the valley around 2800m high I was bouncing of walls. The oxygen had never felt thicker, we were powering up hills like they weren’t even there. I felt like and Olympic athlete almost running up hill without even getting the slightest bit puffed. It was probably the fittest I have ever been. I felt like I could walk up a sheer rock face somehow defying gravity. I had so much energy I walked twice as fast as Jacinta and Azaret. I walked for 10mins and rested for 10mins until they both caught up.
I met a porter carrying 85kg. He was resting while I waited for the girls. He asked if I wanted to have go carrying his load. I was excited to have a go. Feeling like superman I sat in front of the large pack, I rested the head strap
across my forehead and assumed position. By this time Jacinta and Azeret had come around the corner and watched me. The strap was too short for my long body but I was only going to have a short walk not climb up to EBC. I held the strap with both hands right above my ears, I tightened my six pak and rolled forward. The weight of the pack lifted, the pressure on my forehead was so much I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. My neck tendons were so taught they sang in the breeze. My neck muscles exploded to double their size under the strain. My neck sunk into my chest like a turtle. I quickly bent over so I could rest the load on my back instead of taking most of it on my neck. I hoped a couple of times trying to adjust my load at the same time. It was surprisingly light on my back and I could walk around, but I was by no means comfortable, unless I wanted to look like a crippled old man I would have to stand up and let some the weight bear down on
my neck. As soon as I did this my neck strained under pressure again, I walked around trying to balance out the load and get a better feel for the weight. After a minute I had my fun and sat the load back down on the ledge. My neck sprung back and my muscles relaxed, I had no neck injuries and was able to walk away unscathed. It takes many years to build up to these sorts of loads and my neck wasn't going to get used to it in one minute. The porters carry so much weight and for so long that I have personally witnessed deformities due to the load of the strap on their heads. I have seen many men that have a hairless strap mark across their cranium; some that look like a fashionable hair shave gone horribly wrong. I have also seen calices on top of these bold heads and skulls that have been squashed flat and in worse cases concave causing the contents of their brain to bulge out the front and back. I shook the hand of the porter and said Tanyubaht which means thankyou in Nepali.
The closer we trekked to Lukla
the hot it got. It was only 28C but it felt like 38C after being in dryer cooler temperatures. The last stretch to Lukla was the hardest; we had to climb back out of the valley gaining 400m in altitude. We had been trekking for 8hrs, my stomach was empty and it was the first time I felt flat. Each time I walked around the corner I hoped to see the stone archway which was the entrance to the national park. Around 100 turns later or it felt like it, I had made it, sweat was dripping but I had the biggest smile on my face. I was so determined to get to Lukla that I would have to wait another 25mins before Jacinta walked through the arch, then Azeret 5 min after her. We found a lodge for 200nrs/ night, they also confirmed our tickets for the fly out in the morning. All we needed was some clear weather and we were one step closer to having a shower.
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